Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
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For the more than two dozen Hudson Middle School students who participated in an outreach program at The Phipps Center for the Arts recently, the nightly news about trouble in the Middle East will likely have more meaning. The students wrote essays to be part of the program which is built around the center's current exhibit Prism of Longing, which examines the conflict and culture of the Middle East from the point of view of Jews, Muslims and Christians who share the region.
After 12 years on the Hudson Board of Education, Annette Cook is ready to move on. She will not be a candidate for re-election in April. Cook said her decision should not be a surprise. "I never planned to stay on the board after my children graduated. It's not that having kids in the district is a necessary qualification for school board, but I never intended to stay on after my youngest was through. I've had a good, long experience, but now it's time to do something different." Cook learned public service from her parents.
Certified Public Accountant Arnie Fett will retire as the Hudson School District's director of fiscal operations on June 30 after 17 years of service. Most would agree that he has served the students, families and taxpayers of this district well. Fett describes his job this way: to keep the district fiscally strong while providing a quality education. While he admits it isn't always easy balancing those two goals, it is what has guided him through a variety of changes over the years.
Like most residents in the area, the Hudson School District is beginning to see the impact of rising energy costs. At last week's school board meeting, Jim Stejskal, the district's supervisor of facilities and grounds, reported that the price of natural gas had increased 47.5 percent per thermal unit over last year. "And there just aren't enough conservation measures to make up for that," said Stejskal.
The Hudson Board of Education voted unanimously last week to transfer $4.5 million from the general fund into a fund designated for future capital projects. The balance in the general fund before the transfer was approximately $16 million. The board members had discussed the current level of the general fund and the amount that should be transferred at last month's board meeting.
The families of Dan O'Connell and James Ellison were not satisfied with Bishop Raphael Fliss' statement or his answers at a parishwide meeting held at St. Patrick's Church on Sunday afternoon. They were also disappointed that Fr. Peter Szleszinski was not at the meeting. Janet O'Connell, Dan O'Connell's mother, said the bishop provided nothing new in his answers. "We are committed to seeing the church make changes and reforms that will ensure that pedophilia and what happened as a result of it never happen again," said O'Connell.
School board president Annette Cook has filed non-candidacy papers and will not seek re-election in April. Cook has served four terms on the board. She was first elected in 1994 and has served as board president since May of 2001. Cook could not be reached for comment by press time. With the filing deadline just days away, only one of the estimated nine people who took out candidacy papers for the Hudson School Board have filed for the three seats that will be determined in the spring election. It is expected that incumbent Priscilla Wyeth will seek another term.
The investigation into the threatening letter sent to Hudson's city administrator in June is still in the hands of investigators with the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation. The case was turned over to the DCI since the letter also included a threat to members of the Hudson Police Department as well as the Hudson School Board. According to Sgt. Marty Jensen of the HPD, the state crime lab was sent the original letter and envelope for evidence analysis shortly after it was turned over to his department on June 24.
Among the new things at Hudson High School this fall is the Gay/Straight Alliance, a student club that as its name implies is open to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation. One of the club's first orders of business this fall was to come up with a mission statement.
Local customers have always been a priority with Hudson-area business people and never more so than now. By all accounts, business is booming in our little town, and whether they have been around for 30 years or three, owners and retailers want the community to know they appreciate the local shoppers. Jean Iverson is the owner of lavender thymes, 512 Second St., and has been in business in downtown Hudson for more than 20 years. She began building gift baskets in her garage in 1985. As orders for her baskets grew, so did demand for the individual products in them.